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Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee

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A contemporary novel about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their futures--and the TV show they host--in their senior year of high school.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show's guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he'll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous...and momentous.

400 pages, Hardcover

First published February 26, 2019

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About the author

Jeff Zentner

9 books2,232 followers
Jeff Zentner is the author of two New York Times Notable Books: The Serpent King and In the Wild Light, as well as Goodbye Days and Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee. His next book, forthcoming from Grand Central in 2024, is entitled Colton Gentry's Third Act.

Among other honors, he has won the ALA’s William C. Morris Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award twice, the International Literacy Association Award, the Whippoorwill Award, the Muriel Becker Award, and been longlisted twice for the Carnegie Medal. He’s a two-time Southern Book Prize finalist; and was a finalist for the Indies Choice Award. He was selected as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start and an Indies Introduce pick. His books have been translated into fifteen languages.

Before becoming a writer, he was a musician who recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. He lives in Nashville.

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
March 17, 2019

“There’s something about witnessing something holy with someone you love, because you take that sacred thing and weave it, like a golden thread, into the fabric of your togetherness.”

Oh, friends! I feel so torn on this one. I do want to start this review off by saying that my dear friend Julie sent this to me, and a few of our other friends, as a traveling book so we could all record our thoughts and feelings with annotations! And, luckily for me, I was the last person to get the book, so I really loved being able to experience the story for myself, but to also see how my friends felt throughout their reading process, too!

But this is the very first book from Jeff Zentner that I've read, even though he has written so many of my best friends’ favorite book(s) of all time! And I’ll be honest, I was instantly completely captivated and enthralled by his writing and story crafting. I also love the Tennessee setting, the small town atmosphere, the poverty representation, and the spotlight on mental health more than I have words to express. But I was so torn on these two characters that it made for a truly strange reading experience that had me constantly conflicted at what to rate this story. (I’ll go into detail later in this review, but Delia’s storyline was easily five stars from me, where I still kind of want to hit Josie’s perspective with a one star!)

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee is a story all about friendship, and growing up, and becoming the person you want to be, while surrounding yourself with people who unconditionally love you and who are willing to unconditionally support you. This tale focuses on two girls who have poured their hearts, their tears, their sweat, and many years into hosting Midnite Matinee, which is a show that is broadcasted on a few TV stations, where these two girls celebrate their mutual love for old horror movies. And these two girls, celebrating dated scary movies, have really carved out a piece of happiness for themselves and for so many watchers at home. Yet, their senior year of high school is steadily coming to a close, and they are both becoming more and more unsure of what the future of Midnite Matinee will be.

“Sometimes small and unspectacular things can be a universe.”

Josie / Rayne - Feeling the weight of her parents’ expectations, while also trying to balance her dreams of a career on television. She is very unsure which university she wants to go to; the one her parents want for her, which also has a once in a lifetime opportunity, or staying close to her hometown so that she can still make the show with her best friend.

Delia / Delilah - Living her life in fear that the people she loves will one day abandon her, after waking up to find her father gone when she was little. And she is trying to figure out if she is chasing her own dreams, or the dreams of a man who left her without a goodbye.

“Someday I'd love to know why the people with the least to lose are always losing the little they have.”

I would die for Delia. Completely. Her character was expertly done and she made me feel every emotion in the entire world. Josie? Not so much. I understand that you have to do what is right for you, and live the life you want to live, but Josie did so many things that I just thought were uncalled for and she really never seemed like a good friend or a good person, honestly.

There is also a romantic subplot with Josie and an MMA fighter who helped the girls on their show one night. His name is Lawson and I believe he is biracial (white and Latinx), and he was a joy to read. And between us? He could have done a whole hell of a lot better than Josie.

But we get to see both of these girls (and Lawson) got on a road trip to a horror convention, where they are going to put it all on the line, one last time, and try to make it big with their show. But during the trip, both girls learn a lot about themselves and the wounds they were pretending were healed.

I really loved how this book constantly talks about medication and normalizes the use of antidepressants. This is a constant theme for Delia and her mother, and this book also touches on how mental health issues can be passed down, and how it is important to make sure you are putting yourself and your mental health first and getting treatment.

“It wasn’t a perfect day, but it’s worth hanging on to.”

I will say that this book took a really unrealistic and very unexpected turn towards the end of the novel and it left a really weird taste in my mouth. It honestly felt straight up out of a cartoon or something, and I feel like it felt so out of place compared to the rest of the book.

I also feel like there was a last minute addition to this story that was very reminiscent of a John Green tearjerker moment, and… I don’t think the book needed it. Both girls (one likable, one not) and their struggles were valid and heartfelt enough to not add something that felt so out of the blue just to make the reader cry.

Overall, I really did enjoy this one. And I never really wanted to put it down. But that random, mustache twirling villain, and Josie being truly an insufferable character, I just can’t give this book more than a three star rating. But I am very excited to see what Jeff Zentner does next, and I am really looking forward to going back and reading his back-list, because this book truly held some of the most beautiful writing and a truly unforgettable character who I will carry with me forever.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for heavy abandonment, grief depiction, depression depiction, talk of suicide, brief mention of cancer, brief mention of loss of a loved one, and food and weight related things that could be potentially triggering.
Profile Image for Jeff Zentner.
Author 9 books2,232 followers
August 23, 2018
Here’s where RAYNE & DELILAH’S MIDNITE MATINEE came from.

Inspiration rears its head at the most unexpected places, at the most unlikely times. One Saturday night, in February 2016, while I had my antennae up for an idea for my third novel, I came home and turned on the TV. I started aimlessly channel surfing. I must emphasize: this is exceedingly rare for me to do, given the length of my Netflix queue.

When I landed on the Nashville public access station, I saw something surprising--a grainy horror movie from the late sixties or seventies. I kept watching. The movie soon cut, as if to a commercial, to two goth-looking young women, on the set of a low-budget public access show. It was Marlena Midnite and Robyn Graves, the hosts of Midnite Mausoleum, a public access creature feature syndicated nationwide. The sweet goofiness of the show hooked me. It gave me a warm, safe feeling, like hanging out with friends and watching a cheesy movie. It would be part of many Saturday nights to come.

But that night, two characters materialized in my mind. Two young women, with differing aspirations, who host a creature feature show on their local public access station in Jackson, Tennessee. I knew this would give me a long-awaited opportunity to write about the magic that happens when young women create things together. For years I’ve volunteered at Tennessee Teens Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp, and witnessed this firsthand, as bands composed entirely of young women would take the stage with songs they’d written. It would also give me a chance to write about a sort of person near and dear to my heart--those who try their hardest and come up short.

So I began writing. My first two books, The Serpent King and Goodbye Days, have moments of humor, but are primarily weighted toward darker, heavier subjects. I soon realized that in writing about two girls who have a DIY show where they do skits with Frankenstein puppets, stage dog weddings, and have arbitrary dance parties, this book wanted to be the inverse of my previous two books--weighted toward comedy, with moments of darkness and heaviness. I hope it’s a welcome departure in this sense. But really, this isn’t a book about TV shows or horror movies. It’s a book about the deepest sort of friendship, and so it’s not actually a departure at all.

I hope you have as much fun spending time with Josie Howard (AKA Rayne Ravenscroft) and Delia Wilkes (AKA Delilah Darkwood) as I did writing them. Making something with someone you love weaves a golden thread through the fabric of your togetherness. I tried to weave that golden thread into the friendship between Josie and Delia, with their Midnite Matinee. What they make is small and unspectacular, but sometimes small and unspectacular things can be a universe.

So, grab a bag of truckbread (this will make sense if you’ve read it) and an ice-cold Cobra Venomm (this will also make sense if you’ve read it) and enjoy!
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
April 4, 2021

For a long time I shined my light for someone other than me. But not anymore.
Josie and Delia, who are more known by their alter egos Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, host a midnight matinee every Friday night.

Josie and Delia do their best to serve up what they know best - bad movies, terrible jokes and plenty of love.
But the thing with a best friend is that you’re never talking about nothing. Even when you’re talking about nothing, it’s something.
But with graduation around the corner, their show is threatened by college...by life, really.

When an opportunity arises to take their show to the next level, Delia just knows that this will be the only chance to save it all. But is she willing to risk it?
Everything ends. Some things last longer than others, but everything end.


I've heard so many good things about this author, so I was tentatively VERY excited for this one.


It fizzled.

It crashed and burned.

I did adore the concept of this book - the two best friends, their wacky show and their increasingly wild adventures.

BUT, it just never panned out the way I hoped.

The book is told in alternating perspectives of Josie and Delia but their personalities didn't feel distinct. I kept forgetting who I was reading...the entire book, I was flipping chapters to figure out who was talking. Ugh.

Josie was...annoying. She was beautiful, her life was practically perfect and she just drifted through life - her inane chatter in the book made me want to shake her.

Delia had a harder life (no doubt), but at the same time she just didn't stick out to me. She wasn't memorable and she was so indecisive that I wanted to rip her laptop away and send the dang email herself.

The actual plot felt very...ehhhhh to me.

I had a hard time getting into it - put that was partly cause the "Evil" people were just so stereotypically evil - I kept expecting a swishing of capes and a smoke-bomb exit.

The thing that really annoyed me was the

Overall, I just never felt that moment where I sunk into the book and couldn't let it go.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.4k followers
February 24, 2019
I'm sorry, but what in the name of manic-pixie-dream plot did I just read????????? Things started off well enough but took SUCH a nose-dive in the second half, I can't even deal. I have no idea how to even write this review because this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year (I gave Jeff’s previous two books 5 stars) but it was honestly just a big ol' 👎🏼💩 I AM SO BUMMED
Profile Image for emma.
1,866 reviews54.4k followers
July 25, 2019
I need to let you all in on a secret.

You all should work at a Barnes & Noble.

Even if it’s just for a couple weeks. Even if it’s a college Barnes & Noble (they’re the same). Just as long as it takes to get your employee number.

Because baby, let me tell you, applied at any register, that number gets you 35% off books.


(Barnes & Noble corporate employees, stop reading this.)

...that number…



The reason I’m talking about this is that I bought this very meh read at a very substantial discount, and thank god for that because I would have been mildly to definitely upset otherwise.

Basically, I wanted to buy a YA contemporary and I liked this cover and I liked this synopsis and I had a vague recollection of liking The Serpent King, so it was love at first sight. (Or at least enough-of-a-sense-of-hope-to-spend-money at first sight.)

But this was, in the end, a very meh read.

The High School Best Friends Who Have The Same Dream Except One Is More Passionate About It And The Other Wants To Go To College And That’s A Huge Betrayal For Some Reason plotline has been done (many, many times) before, and it’s been done better. It depends on the reader caring not just about both characters, but their friendship, and that just...didn’t happen for me. I didn’t click with any part of this.

Bottom line: I spent more time talking about employee discounts than this book while reviewing it, and that should tell you everything you need to know.


i would categorize my soul as "lightly destroyed"

review to come / 2 stars


The Serpent King ruined my goddamn life so i am therefore legally obligated to read every other soul-destroyer Jeff Zentner writes
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
September 13, 2019
jeff zentner stories are a work of art - in that, even though everyone gets something different out of them, they are still impactful and memorable. and this is no exception.

this is perhaps the most ‘positive’ story zentner has written so far. his other books tend to be on the more serious and difficult side of emotion, but this is funny and up-lifting. and it is also every bit as real as his other books, which i like.

zentner has such a genuine way of being able to write about life events that everyone goes through and i think this story is a great portrayal of what it means to grow up and how to move forward with life. which is something everyone can relate to, in our own unique ways.

4 stars
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,509 reviews29.5k followers
February 27, 2019
"Sometimes small and unspectacular things can be a universe."

Josie and Delia are best friends. They're practically inseparable, prone to conversations like, "Have you noticed that if you switch the first letters of every country singer's first and last name, you end up with an amazing Star Wars name?"

Every Friday night, Josie and Delia become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, the hosts of a campy, tongue-in-cheek horror show on public access television called Midnite Matinee . They show bad horror movies, make lots of corny jokes, and quite often have to keep themselves from bursting into laughter while filming, but they try to keep improving and create something they can be (reasonably) proud of.

Their program is filmed in Jackson, Tennessee, but airs on a few markets throughout the south, enough that there are viewers who write them letters to comment on errors, offer criticism and suggestions, and share pervy thoughts that men shouldn't have about two high school seniors. Josie has dreamed of being on television for as long as she can remember, while Delia get involved mostly as a tribute to her father, who shared his love of campy horror movies with her, and then left when she was younger.

As their senior year draws to a close, so much hangs in the balance. While they both plan to go to the same college so they can continue filming the show on weekends, Josie's parents want her to pursue a television career legitimately. Josie doesn't want to let Delia down, but she doesn't know if the show is even what she still wants. And when a guest on the show catches Josie's attention in an unexpected way, it adds even more pressure to the decisions she has to make.

Everything hinges on a meeting Delia has set up with a producer who made a star out of a horror hostess back in the day. They plan to meet him at ShiverCon, a horror convention. They both dream that this meeting will take their show to the next level, which is what Delia wants more than anything, and it would solve all of Josie's problems. And maybe, while they're in Florida for the convention, Delia might track down her father...

"You don't always know at the time when you're experiencing one of those random memories you'll carry all your life. When nothing momentous happened other than driving a little too fast in the direction of Florida, at dusk, with your best friend at your side and, at your back, a guy who's really good at kissing you. Still, you remember it until the day you die."

Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Matinee is a warm, funny, poignant story of friendship, love, following your dreams, and worrying you'll always be the one left behind. At times the book gets a little too goofy, but it has such heart, and Jeff Zentner has created such terrific characters that charm you and make you care about them.

Zentner's first two books, The Serpent King and Goodbye Days , tore me apart emotionally (see my reviews here and here), but he takes a lighter path with this book, although there still are emotional moments. He is truly a talented writer, relying on so much more than teenage characters who speak as if they've been honing their sarcasm and caustic wit since birth. He really has a knack for capturing the right amount of teenage angst and emotion.

I believe Zentner is one of the best YA writers out there these days. If you prefer an utter emotional upheaval, read either of his first two books, but if you just want a fun, slightly zany, and poignant look at friendship, definitely pick up Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee .

NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Crown Books for Young Readers provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

This book will be published February 26, 2019.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yrralh/.
Profile Image for Danielle.
831 reviews455 followers
November 27, 2020
This is a quick read about friendship. These two girls have a Gilmore Girls style of banter but with a goth vibe. There are a few lol moments 😂 and also some sad moments 😢. It was an okay read, if you’re looking for something that isn’t overly complex.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,740 reviews5,281 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 22, 2019
DNF @ 25%

I might try this again later but this book is making me so angry I can't stand it. I hate the way Josie views the world around her and I hate her inability to look outside of her own grossly over-privileged bubble for more than half a second at a time, and I'm not even remotely enjoying watching Delia rake her poor mother over the coals with her obsession over finding her deadbeat runaway father.

It's really such a shame, because with my lifelong obsession with horror films and anything related to them, this book could have been the perfect fit for me, but these characters are just insufferable.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,048 reviews1,380 followers
May 15, 2019
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

“Most of all, I think it’s people who love to be reminded that sometimes you do your best and you come up short, but there’s still a place in the world for people like that.”

🌟 I love Jeff Zentner, he wrote Goodbye Days which is one of my fav emotional books and has one of the best opening lines ever! He is a very kind person and he’s humble. I follow him on Twitter and he’s such a nice guy!
I am saying this because I am heartbroken, I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would. There was something missing, I just feel like a teacher who won’t be able to give a good student a good grade because I know he has more potential and he can do better than this!

🌟 The writing was good, I didn’t highlight many quotes, nor was I captivated by the writing, but it was still readable and I didn’t consider DNFing, which I do when the writing is not working.

🌟 The characters were not relatable and that may have been my problem with this book! I wanted something to connect with and it simply wasn’t what I got. I felt like this can be turned into an animation movie for younger readers.
But there is something that I liked between these characters. The 2 main characters have one of the best platonic relationships I ever read. There were many points in the book where I thought things would spiral down the hill as usually happens in YA, but the characters were mature and talked and resolved these things!

🌟 The plot is also weird and not something I would usually read. Basically, the 2 main characters have a horror TV show that they want to save. While doing that Delia wants to find her dad who left home when she was young and Josie wants to chase her dreams of going into a career in the TV! This obviously complicates things and they have to work things out through the book!

🌟 There are many topics discussed along the way as you would expect from Jeff’s novels such as depression and abandonment and use of antidepressants.
Jeff’s previous 2 books made me tear and I heard that this one will do too. Unfortunately it didn’t evoke these emotions but it was funny as many of the other reviews claim.

🌟Summary: Jeff used his usual format I mentioned in my last review. Multiple small chapters and that helped in holding my interest -as much as possible at least-. The book was mediocre and I wish I could love it more. I will still read Jeff’s next books hoping to glimpse the excellent student I know that lives in Jeff!
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Profile Image for Taylor.
435 reviews137 followers
April 9, 2019
Updated Review:

Thank you so much to Crown Books for Young Readers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


"Goooooooooood evening, boys and ghouls, zombies and zombettes, witches and warlocks, this is Midnite Matinee..."

All it takes is that punny intro from Rayne & Delilah's TV Six Studio show, and we're immediately informed of what kind of humor -- and characters -- we'll be interacting with throughout this coming-of-age contemporary.

(And that's not to knock it. I genuinely laughed. Often.)

Josie (a.k.a. Rayne Ravenscroft) and Delia (Delilah Darkwood) are best friends that run a weekly horror movie skit and commentary show at their local public access station. And while their back-and-forth zingers kept me chuckling, there's not much else this duo has in common:

"I think it means there's something great inside me, something extraordinary and mysterious and undiscovered."

Josie is the confident, charismatic, female lead that seems to have the world by the balls. She comes from a wealthy (and seemingly happy) family with the connections to make her TV-centric dreams attainable. And though at times (read: often!) she came across as snobby and flirted with the "manic pixie dream girl" characterization, she does attempt to change her ways (thanks to exposure to new situations and social groups) by the end of the novel.

"You know what the worst part is about your dad leaving you? It makes you scared to trust anyone or anything, because if your dad can leave you, who wont?"

Delia, on the other hand, is basically Josie's polar opposite (read: far more interesting character). Suffering from depression and rejection issues that stem from her father abandoning her at a young age, she finds solace in the B-grade horror films he left behind. Desperate to reconnect with her father, Delia puts all her hopes and dreams into her skit show in hopes that he'll see it one day and come and find her. And even though she feels damaged and often places her frustrations on the wrong people, we see her on the path to healing by the end.

Set in Jackson, Tennessee the novel is a love letter to teens from both sides of the tracks trying to figure out "what comes next" after high school. What universities should they attend, if any? What should they do with their growing public access show? Should they pursue romantic relationships if there's an end-of-summer expiration date? Will they stay friends if distance is thrown into the mix? Were they ever really friends in the first place?

While Zentner answers these questions, we come to really know these girls, their humor, and their doubts and fears. He sprinkles in a strong cast of side characters (here's looking at you and the steamy pancake scene Lawson 😍), solid mental health and poverty rep, and an overly cheesy yet satisfying ending.

And while I'd love to give my first foray into Zentener's works all 5-Stars I had to dock a star for the ENTIRE Jack Devine/Shivercon portions. You know what this book didn't need? Russian mob subplots. I honestly STILL don't have words to explain that writing tangent. So let's just move on, shall we?

"It's comforting to know that you don't have to be excellent to not be completely forgotten."

At the end of the day this novel made me laugh, reminiscence, and reminded me that sometimes the "small and unspectacular things can be a universe." It stresses the importance of finding your light and shining it as best you can for yourself, because at the end of the day you finding worth in yourself is what matters most.

All quotes were taken from an advanced copy and may not match the final release.

original news/commentary:

Guess who just won herself a copy via giveaway??

Book news is the BEST news! Can't wait to read this!!
Profile Image for Cory Marie.
261 reviews94 followers
February 26, 2019
I am the type of reader who hardly ever asks for ARCs- partly because I am stupid and scared of rejection, and partly because I am weird and I often enjoy going to the bookstore on the day a book is released. There is just something about a Tuesday morning, am I right?! However, when I had the amazing opportunity to read Jeff Zentner's newest book early... I DID NOT HESITATE. I had to have it. He is one of the best contemporary authors out there. He wrote my absolute favorite book, The Serpent King, and I made a deal with myself that I would literally read anything and everything that he ever writes. His stories always speak to me, touch my heart in unexpected ways, and of course, make me bawl my damn eyes out. Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Matinee was no exception.

I'll start off by saying that Rayne and Delilah was by far the most upbeat book that Jeff Zentner has written so far. I knew he was a witty dude, but holy hell, this book had me wondering if he practices stand up comedy in his spare time. The humor and wit is unparalleled. Every single line is true comedy gold, and I laughed out loud more times than I can even begin to count. I wish that Josie and Delia were real people because I know that myself and my best friend, Becca, would love to hang out with them all day long. They would be the perfect people to join us in making sarcastic jokes about all of the fools that we have to deal with on a daily basis, while also hardcore hating on all things relating to country music. Besides being the queens of hilarity, Josie and Delia are also two of the most relatable characters that I've ever read. I saw so much of myself in both of them, and I totally wish that I would have had their gumption when I was in high school. 

A lot of YA books deal with friendship, but I think that Rayne and Delilah brought the friendship theme to a whole new level. It was extremely refreshing to read about two female best friends who were totally in sync and focused on things outside of romance. Speaking of romance, Rayne and Delilah has some of that too!! And it was another thing that I adored about the book. The romantic aspect was subtle enough to not overshadow the main story, but prevalent enough to keep my romance-loving heart happy. Who freakin knew that a male could write such a relatable, honest, and swoon-worthy love story told from the perspective of a female?! Seriously, kudos to Jeff for having the guts to not only attempt this, but to succeed with flying colors!! It takes a true talent for an author to be able to delve into the mind of a persona that they themselves have never been, but trust me when I say that I was so pleasantly surprised about how well Jeff Zentner executed this "girl power"-esque story.

I've talked about how funny and cute this book is, but I have yet to describe how it is also so very heartwarming and emotional. There were times where I had to read certain paragraphs twice because I was so moved and inspired. I have always appreciated that both of Jeff's previous books harp on the fact that you do not have to do extraordinary things to be an extraordinary person. I love the message that people can be happy living a "simple" life. I think it's an important thing to convey to young people like myself, who sometimes struggle soooo hard to be "the best", and subsequently think of themselves as failures when they don't experience the fame and fortune they think they desire. My emotions were also on high alert whenever I read the subtle, yet so important, passages about mental health. As someone who struggles with depression, accurate mental health representation is something that I always look for in books. And I mean, come on, it wouldn't be a Jeff Zentner book if it wasn't at least a little sad.

I could realistically write about 6 more paragraphs describing everything that I loved about Rayne and Delilah's Midnite Matinee, but I'll end this by saying that you need this book in your life, and you should definitely go buy it when it comes out on February 26, 2019. You also need The Serpent King and Goodbye Days if you have not yet read those. All three of them are life-changing and life-affirming novels that will always hold a special place in my heart. 

5 STARS!!!!!!!!!

** I was provided an ARC of this book as part of an ARC tour. My thoughts and opinions are all my own, and I was not influenced by the author or publisher.
Profile Image for Jeff Zentner.
Author 9 books2,232 followers
Want to read
June 1, 2023
Hey everyone, this book became RAYNE & DELILAH’S MIDNITE MATINEE. It’s not a different book but it just sits here, haunting Goodreads. Sorry!
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,189 reviews1,017 followers
March 5, 2019
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

I am notoriously picky about books of a lighter nature. But since  The Serpent King is one of my all-time favorites, and I really loved  Goodbye Days , I was obviously going to give Rayne & Delilah a go. And I am so glad that I did, for it was fabulous. This book is completely laugh-out-loud funny. Nay, it's laugh-at-inappropriate-times funny.

But beyond just being phenomenally funny, it had so, so much heart. Delia and Josie are both incredible characters who I loved from basically the start. I related far more to Delia, but I still really enjoyed Josie. They're both facing a lot of changes as they finish their high school years, and effectively, their childhoods. They are of course also going through major personal changes, as a result of all of the upheaval but also just as a result of growing up.

Their friendship is at the center of the story, and it's so well done. It feels incredibly authentic, and I swear I have had some of these same ups and downs with my own friends (you know, minus the horror movie cable access show, sadly). But it isn't just their relationship that has a focus, there are so many other highlighted relationships! All the side characters are incredibly well fleshed out, and I grew to care about them just as much as Delia and Josie. And, family was a huge focus too.

Add to it a road trip to a fan convention, and you have me drowning in flails. You'll laugh (a lot), cry, and just feel like your heart is fuller after reading Josie and Delia's story.

Bottom Line:  Full of hilarious hijinks, heartbreaking, life-defining moments, and a friendship that frankly cannot be beat. To say you want to read this is a severe understatement.
Profile Image for Denia  Books & Baubles.
527 reviews102 followers
February 17, 2019
What a great book, you guys. I loved it so much. 

Let me start by saying I have never laughed as hard reading a book as I did reading this one. This book was awesome you guys! I couldn't stop reading it once I started it. We have a little bit of everything going on in this book. There's your adorable romance, there's your invaluable friendship, there's your crazy story, there's your down moments, but above all, there's your love.

"Those who don't work hard for a long time will have a hard time for a long time.

Josie and Delia are best friends that host a show on channel six that airs every Sunday (I believe)  from 11 pm to 1 am. Their show is about critiquing old horror movies while playing a role in front of the camera. They have been doing this show together for over a year and a half now. Delia struggles with the lost of her father and the fact that she and her whole family have mental issues. Meanwhile, Josie struggles with deciding what to do with her life after high school, her decisions lie within staying in town helping Delia with the show or moving on and working on her career as being a TV show host.

The characters were so full of life. Josie and Delia have the most amazing friendship ever, it's so unique that people think they are sisters all the time despite either one of them not looking like each other. They made me laugh so hard throughout this entire story. There's a scene in the book (not spoilers I promise) where there's a fight going on, like a professional looking fight, there's a ring, boxers, etc., and Delia shouts:

"Make him feel like every day is Monday"

I don't know why, but I laughed so hard during that scene I had to stop reading and wipe the laughing tears under my eyes. Josie and Delia make me feel so happy and despite the fact that they have their own problems, they still find their way back to each other.

Delia's mom has mental health issues and that is something that Delia struggles with too, but something that I loved seeing in this story was the fact that Zetner didn't make her hate her mom. Delia loves her family, however broken it may be. And her mom turns out to be one of the coolest moms out there despite her issues with herself. I also have to say that Delia is my favorite character on this book. Not only does she have a name similar to mine, but she feels so real throughout this entire story. I have a story similar to hes and her character hit home for me. Moreover, people said that this was the one book from Jeff Zetner that wouldn't make you cry and they lied. I cried like a baby. There were moments in this book that I suffered through and it honestly was my fault for thinking that I wasn't going to cry.

"I get lonely sometimes, but so does everyone else. We're all looking for some sort of salvation in something."

I read this whole book thinking that this book is 100% Zetner. I can see him liking mix martial arts, old horror movies, and fart jokes. Yep, all of that is in this book. If you want to die laughing, then please read this book. If you like Adam Silvera (but not in his everyone has to die way), Becky Albertalli, David Levithan, etc., then you'll for sure love this book. If you are 10 years old and older, you can also read this book. And as always, I want to thank you guys for taking the time to read my post. I truly appreciate it.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,207 reviews19.7k followers
Want to read
January 17, 2019
“A hilarious novel about friendship, following your dreams – and bad horror movies.”

Thank you, Andersen Press for this book!
I read The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner last year and became one of my favourite books of last year.

I can’t wait to see what his new novel will be like.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.3k followers
May 28, 2019
i just listened to 2 YA contemp audiobooks that slapped and this one... hasn't thus far. also the premise isn't really intriguing to me so i'm just gonna quit while i'm ahead
Profile Image for Sophie "Beware Of The Reader".
1,328 reviews357 followers
March 29, 2019
4 “weirdo” stars


OK here is the deal: I have no idea how to rate this book (well obviously I chose four stars but I am still pondering it over) or how to write this review.

I guess you’ll get a jumble of thoughts, reactions and feelings.


First I want to say that I adored "The Serpent King" and "Goodbye Days". They were both five stars and I could not wait to read Midnite Matinee.


My feelings reading this book:

1) WTH am I reading? What are these girls talking about? Old bad horror movies are so NOT my jam!



2) You’d think they are sharing a brain. Seriously their banter is so weird! Did Jeff Zentner smoked some weed to come up with these absurd questions/theories? It is so weird it makes me *reluctantly* laugh.

3) What is happening? I begin to appreciate and understand this completely bizarre humor!!!! Help! Someone comes and save me please!


4) Urgent intervention needed! I am warming up to their insane world!

5) Amidst this surrealist story I am crying for Delia.



6) How can an author annoy me, weird me out yet make me laugh and cry in the same story????

7) Final thoughts: I am crying. Bitter sweet with hope by the end.


See my predicament?


Did I like Josie and Delia’s brand of humor and atypical interest? No. Not really as I am so not into bad horror movies.

Did I like Josie and Delia’s characters? Absolutely! I found them loyal, entertaining, smart , dedicated and generous. And crazy somehow.

Was I bored while reading this? No. But definitely arrested and taken aback. Often.


I admired Josie fierce protectiveness of Delia. She was the one with luck in her life. Parents still together and concerned with their daughter’s future. Money and beauty.

I wanted to hug Delia. She has been dealt the bad cards in life with a dad who left her years ago and a depressed mom. But as flawed as Delia’s mom was she was still a fantastic mom!


I would say that the craziness and eccentricity are the outer shell of what is a formidable bitter sweet friendship coming of age story.

This is certainly NOT a conventional YA story.

Kudos to you Jeff!

Now let's chat! Have you read this book? Or have you ever read a book that you did not know if you liked it or not? Or that left you befuddled?
Thanks for reading!

Find me on:
Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader
Facebook: Beware Of The Reader
Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert
Instagram: @bewareofthereader
Twitter: @BewareOffReader
Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
634 reviews570 followers
February 22, 2019
Actual rating: 3,5

After spending some time only reading adult fiction and non fiction, I found myself craving some ya literature. I already read some fantasy this year, but what I really wanted in my life was good ya contemporary, since it was my favorite genre for the longest time.
This novel reminded me why I love this genre so much, and even though it wasn’t a 5 stars book for me, or a brilliant masterpiece, it still made me feel that familiar feeling you have when you return to something you love after a long time, and only from that point only, hours spent with Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee were worth it.

The story follows two best friends: Delia and Josie who work together on a TV show in which they talk about horror movies and they also show old cult horrors.
Josie wants to spend her life working on tv, so the show is her step to start her career, while Delia does the show in hope that one day her father will recognize her and make connection.
Delia doesn’t want for Josie to move on after the graduation, because she doesn’t want to be left alone.
On the other hand, Josie knows she has to move to another city to go to college, and she feels bad about leaving Delia behind.

I liked how the story shows the reality of life. It pictures perfect how hard it is to succeed, and how many people try to reach their dreams, but they don’t.
Sometimes people do their best, but there is a reason why they say that success is hard work + luck + good connections.

The story is written in two POVs, Delia’s and Josie’s, both written in first person.

I liked each point of view, but if I have to state one that I liked better it would be Josie’s.
Maybe it’s because of Lawson, who is her love interest, and is also an interesting character who contributed to the story with his amazing personality.

It is kind of sad for me to say that I liked the girls the best when they were separated.
I know, it sounds awful, especially because this novel is about friendship, but I have to be honest. Together, they sounded kind of rude, especially when they talked to strangers.

Also, one down side of this novel were dialogues. They mostly sounded too forced. They were too much, and unrealistic.
But then again, maybe teenagers do talk that way these days, I wouldn’t know for sure. All I know is that I didn’t click with the way characters talked in this story.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee talks about friendship, family and life.
It also covers serious topics like mental illness and poverty.

It is still pretty early and there are not many reviews for this book, but from what I see most people enjoyed this novel more then I did, so keep that in mind when reading my thoughts.

I would recommend this book to young adult contemporary lovers.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,722 reviews260 followers
February 25, 2019
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Every Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six. But with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show's guest performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder. Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee becomes a hit, maybe he'll see it and want to be a part of her life again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her behind, too. As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous...and momentous.

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee is my first ever Jeff Zentner novel, but I now know that I absolutely need to read more from him in the future. I think this novel has become a new read of 2019 as well as a new favorite YA Contemporary. As soon as I heard about this I knew I needed to try it ASAP as a big fan of Svengoolie, so needless to say I was quite excited when I realized I managed to get approved on NetGalley. Luckily, it totally lived up to all of my expectations. There's a little bit of everything, but I loved reading about the friendship, sense of humor, love, and following your dreams. The story packs quite an emotional punch as well since it also deals with making big decisions, dealing with change, and worrying whether or not you'll get left behind. It certainly is a celebration of new beginnings and respecting endings. The title characters, aka Josie and Delia, though are what really make the story because they are so well developed and well written that they could practically walk right off of the page. Finally, I'd just like to mention how much I appreciated all of the talk of campy and cult horror and sci-fi classics as well as real life horror hosts.

Overall, Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner is an absolute must read YA Contemporary novel. If you're a fan of Scream All Night by Derek Milman, Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, David Levithan, Svengoolie, and classic horror hosts, I have a feeling you'll enjoy this new release. I can't wait to read more from Jeff Zentner in the future. I think I've found a new favorite author. Thanks again, NetGalley!

Profile Image for Christy.
1,505 reviews261 followers
September 3, 2018
Alright, Jeff Zentner. You promised me this book would come without tears but that is a lie!

Rayne and Delilah are the alternative late-night access channel personalities of Josie and Delia, two best friends who are high school seniors on the cusp of their whole lives changing. Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is their story and it will grab your heart in a way you can’t even expect.


Any YA fan alive in the last two years has probably heard of Jeff Zentner or maybe seen one of his selfies. If you’ve met Kelly or I, you’ve likely had The Serpent King thrust into your hands without remorse. Jeff creates characters you can’t forget and stories so tangible that you’ll wonder if you’re living in the Matrix and that’s the real world over there.

Rayne and Delilah is no different. While you’re probably wondering how this man takes access channel TV and a road trip and leaves you with tears and joy, I can promise you their journey is completely worth it.

Without spoiling the story, Jeff tackles:

1. The ever-changing landscape of a friendship as youth grow more into themselves and hold onto the pieces of their youth so important to them.
2. Parental abandonment and the complexity of the feelings that go with it.
3. Young love that comes slowly and yet hits you all at once.
4. The uncertainty of that small part of our lives between senior year and whatever comes next.
5. Meeting your idols, celebrity and otherwise.

Oh, and there will be tears. But not the tears of his previous two books yet all the same.
Profile Image for Jamie (Books and Ladders).
1,382 reviews189 followers
February 26, 2019
See this review and more on Books and Ladders!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

Thank you to Christy of BookCrushin' for putting together the ARC Tour and letting me join in!

Hello, I am broken by another Jeff Zentner novel. I felt too many things and now am sobbing in bed and do not want to feel things ever again. But, alas, Jeff does a very good job of breaking people in the way they need to be broken in order to truly understand how they need to heal. So read this book to break and heal.

The characters, as always, were incredible. I loved the relationship between Josie and Delia, the way that anxieties and worries were portrayed, and the realness of it all. I liked that both girls had real issues, real problems, and real solutions. They were truly the best of friends (and I'm so lucky I have the Josie to my Delia in Dani)

I also like that Jeff is starting to follow in the contemporary author footsteps of those before him and intertwining other characters from his other books as little Easter Eggs for those who have read his past work. I liked having "Insider Knowledge" about some of the little interactions and side characters that we meet that don't take away anything from the plot if you are unaware of them.

Honestly, I am always so impressed with Zentner's work. He knows how to bring together a cohesive story that incorporate family relationships, coming of age, and friendships so well. I was also really impressed with how well he understood young women and the dynamics they have in their relationships (especially when one gets a boyfriend!). I highly recommend anything that Jeff writes and I can't wait to see what comes next!
Profile Image for Ryan.
54 reviews14 followers
August 9, 2023
Reviewing books isn’t one of my skills and I can by no means do this book justice. That being said, I absolutely adore it.

If you've read either or both of Jeff's books you kinda have a good idea of what to expect: beautiful sentences, characters with a ton of heart and empathy who you'd love to have in your social group, an exploration of loss in some capacity, a reverence for the people and the state of Tennessee, and, of course, tears. This time, though, the tears are from laughing and joy rather than heart-wrenching sadness. And like his two previous novels, it’ll uplift you to a place where you’ll be better off than you were before you read it.

There's also a really sweet romance, a truly nail-biting fight scene (or two), and a pretty rad dog, one of the more astute observations when it comes to Star Wars naming conventions, and so much more. Rayne and Delilah’s Midnight Matinee will be released on February 26, 2019, and, in my opinion, one you should definitely pre-order.

Seriously, though, those fights. When I say nail-biting I mean nail-biting. Do you know how much I usually hate reading about fights?

Thank you to Random House for providing me with an ARC.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,675 followers
April 4, 2019
Utterly fantastic, with the perfect mix of humor and pathos. I laughed out loud on nearly every page at the dialogue, and yet found myself ugly crying over the ending (in a good way). Zentner has drawn a beautiful picture of friendship, family, and how hard growing up can be. I loved how he found the perfect balance between Something Fresh (girls with a cable access horror movie show, a teen MMA fighter) and Familiar & Relatable (mental health struggles, broken families). You've never seen anything like Rayne and Delilah, and yet you know and sympathize with the Josie and Delia.

Profile Image for Lisa.
891 reviews538 followers
November 15, 2018
Best friends take on the world...and specifically a public access horror show they co-host. This book is literally laugh-out-loud funny.

There are so many poignant moments - growing up, making big decisions, leaving childhood behind. I love how Delia and Josie interact with each other and their truly amazing sense of humor.

Zentner's best work yet.
Profile Image for La La.
1,014 reviews126 followers
February 27, 2019
I was at 90% with this book for two days and could not bring myself to pick it up and finish it. Today I decided to rip off the proverbial band-aid and end the torture. That being said, giving this book one star is killing me because I loved Zentner's first YA novel with all my heart, but this story is abysmal.

Before I say anything else about this book... it demonizes those who have mental illness who think of themselves before helping someone else, a someone who won't take their medication, to save themselves. No adult is responsible for another adult's mental stability over their own. That is a ridiculous burden to put on someone. Also, this story, like the author's second book, has an element based on a faulty legal concept. As I have said a million times if you want to write Realistic Contemporary Fiction it has to be realistic, you can't twist or overlook fact to make the storyline, or plot easier (quicker) to write, or more dramatic. That's bad writing; plain and simple, but if you need more reasons for my one star rating keep reading.

This YA book is a mind-numbing avalanche of Middle Grade mentality fart and anus references mixed with too many nauseatingly bad puns, continuous eye roll worthy "trying too hard" similes and metaphors, and NA content (like porn movies and cocaine use). The characters were overly silly. I think the author was trying to paint them as having intellectually creative cool senses of humor, but they came off as cartoonish uncool posers. They were also supposed to be "deep thinkers" because at age eighteen they thought about things like the four seasons of life and being glad tears don't smell like pee. They were supposed to be smart kids, but one character thought there were still smallpox and dysentery epidemics in the US in the 1960s, and was also trying to figure out with her mother if "Zombie" was Rob Zombie's real last name. Characterizations like this are why teens in other countries think many US teens are stupid.

One of the characters was routinely violent towards her little sister and the parents (educated upper middle class) were nonplussed. These actions evoked no more than a furrowed brow given "stop that" as if the girl had done nothing more than call her sister a butthole. The eighteen year old character's internal dialogue was that of normalcy about it too. When I was thinking about this and other character thought processes I realized that there was change, but only infinitesimal growth for these characters (most times none at all), and most of that was crammed into the last two chapters of the book in sappy, overly dramatic ways in what was seemingly a last ditch effort to redeem the story. The book was also much too long for what it was.

I will have many more thoughts about this book, including my feelings about it being written solely as a quick money maker, and what the new "literature as a product" mindset has done to Children's publishing, in a spoilery Rant Review on my blog. I will add the link when it is posted.

I was approved for an eARC, via Netgalley, in return for an honest review.
August 26, 2019
What Stood Out to Me:
The premise of two teen girls hosting a late-night public access show featuring (really!) low-budget horror flicks from decades past was hilarious! The personas they "put on" for their show alone made this book worth reading! It was also a story of how longtime friends, no matter how close, must deal with the fact that their lives are moving in different directions.
Memorable Quotes:
(pg.99)-"I have this belief that humans who are connected in some way can feel what the other is feeling."-Josie
(pg.108)-"I think someday I want to be good enough-enough enough-that no one who's held me in their arms under an October night sky ever wants to abandon me."-Delia
Profile Image for Ely.
1,385 reviews114 followers
May 3, 2020

You know those books you’ve got somehow and then a while later you realise you’re never going to read it?

That was Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee for me. I got it as an ARC for Y’All Fest in 2018—I have no idea how because I didn’t hear about most of the ARC drops until they were well and truly over. Anyway, this made the trip with me from Charleston to New Jersey, to Chicago and back to Melbourne only to sit unread on shelves for almost two years. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost gotten rid of it. See, I’m not a big YA contemporary reader anymore and I hadn’t heard a single person talk about this book.

I decided this week to give it a chance—if I didn’t enjoy it I could just pass it on to someone else but at least it would be off my shelves. I’m glad I didn’t because this might be one of my favourite YA contemporaries ever.

First off, I loved the friendship between Josie and Delia. I’m always a little apprehensive going into books about female friendship written by men. I mean, we’ve all seen some pretty bad examples of men writing women, right? But both of them felt like living, breathing people rather than just two-dimensional characters. The friendship was funny and complex, and it reminded me a lot of one of my closest friends and I. They have the most strange conversations with each other and they goof around a lot, but they’re always there for each other when they really need it. This really is one of the greatest friendships I’ve read about in a while.

I also adored Lawson. I just thought he was really sweet. I especially loved how he never tries to get in between Josie and Delia—he really supports their friendship. I’ve been through that whole ‘boyfriend and best friend hate each other’ thing and it’s not fun, so it was really nice to see Lawson be such a decent person. He and Josie were just straight-up adorable. He definitely makes the list of top YA love interests for me—to repeat myself, he’s just really sweet. I would absolutely have a crush on him in real life.

The only thing that stopped this from being a 5-star read for me was that there were a few moments that were just plain ridiculous. For example, there were a couple of recurring jokes, only they were made by minor characters who wouldn’t have crossed paths at all. There was also this whole situation that just bugged me. It was completely ridiculous and made no sense. The book was funny, but those few scenes really cheapened the mood for me. I understand why it was there to lighten the mood of a more serious scene going on, but I would have happily done without it.

All in all, this is a powerful story about the power of friendship and cheesy Horror films. It’s absolutely a new favourite.
Profile Image for Catherine Tinker.
Author 1 book99 followers
Want to read
June 28, 2017
"'Wayne's World' meets 'Ghost World,' the book stars two best friends who must make some tough decisions about the “creature feature” show they host on their local cable access TV station as they enter their senior year of high school."

good grief that's so many things i could ever want all rolled into one book
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